Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Aid to Africa Claims and Facts

Bush insisted that his administration has already tripled U.S. aid to Africa and that a promise to provide 0.7 percent of U.S. GDP -- nearly five times what Washington provides today -- ”doesn't fit our budgetary process.”

”Over the past four years, we have tripled our assistance to Sub-Sahara Africa, and now America accounts for nearly a quarter of all the aid in the region,” he told Blair at a joint White House news conference Jun. 7.

According to the Brookings study, however, aid to Africa under Bush ”has not 'tripled' or even doubled.” The report finds instead that between fiscal year 2000, the last full year for which Bill Clinton was president, and FY 2005, total U.S. aid for Africa increased only 56 percent in real terms, with the majority of the increase consisting of emergency food aid, rather than traditional ODA that is used to promote long-term development. During the same period, Washington's ODA for Africa increased only 33 percent in real terms, according to the report, which was written by Susan Rice, who served as Clinton's top Africa aide from 1993 to 2001 and is currently with the Centre for American Progress.

If funds earmarked for FY 2005 are considered, total aid to Africa will have increased by 78 percent in real terms since 2005, and ODA by 74 percent, according to the study. ”The administration has made some assertions about spending levels that are not accurate,” Rice told reporters in a teleconference Monday. ”The rhetoric has been more compelling than actual performance.”

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